Is it too early for a mock draft? Of course but might as well look ahead to something positive and have a little fun.The Jaguars look to be a near lock for a top 3 selection after the loss to the Jets. There will be a lot of changes over the next few months obviously, both in the front office and in rookie scouting. One failed medical test or poor/amazing combine showing can drastically effect how players are ranked. So this is a very optimistic and loose mock draft as judging draft position is next to impossible prior to the bowl games, combine and pro days. So here we go:
Round 1 (#2): Jarvis Jones (DE/OLB – Georgia)
At this point the Jaguars simply have to take the best player available. In this scenario I am going off the current belief that the Chiefs will take the best QB (likely Geno Smith) in the number one spot. Jarvis Jones, at this point, is easily the best player available in the draft though I could also see Jordan or Werner in this spot as well. With 12.5 sacks, 1 INT and 77 tackles, Jones has established himself as an impressive pass rusher, solid coverage LB and just an overall top notch athlete. Jones might fit better as a 3-4 OLB but should be able to thrive as a 4-3 OLB or DE too. Jacksonville could possibly switch to a 3-4 if a new GM/Coach decides that’s best, but regardless of the style of defense I think Jones is the best pick. His spinal stenosis is a concern but as of now I still consider him a top 5 pick though. If the Jaguars also resign Daryl Smith as I hope they do, the starting LBs of Smith, Poz and Jones would easily be one of the best in the league.
Round 2 (#33): Eric Fisher (OT – Central Michigan)
The Jaguars badly need to find a solution at Right Tackle. Cameron Bradfield has been serviceable at times but he is wildly inconsistent and adding a quality tackle to start opposite of Eugene Monroe has become a must. Fisher could possibly go as high as the middle of the first or drop to the early second. I’m going to be optimistic and say he falls to the Jaguars at the start of the second. Fisher is a monster physically, standing 6’7” and weighing in at around 305 pounds. Fisher’s strength is in the passing game where he excels at pass protection. He has a solid base, long arms and is a strong tackle. His weakness is in the run due to a lack in technique as he can often stand to high allowing DEs to beat him. Overall however Fisher is an excellent pass protector which is exactly what the Jaguars need at RT.
Round 3 (#66): Joseph Randle (RB – Oklahoma State)
I debated going with a CB here and that will be the more likely scenario but if it was me, I would go with a RB here at the start of round three. The Jaguars have learned this season that Rashad Jennings is not the going to be a starting caliber RB. With him becoming a free agent, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jaguars let him walk to give him a chance to compete elsewhere plus the Jaguars still have Maurice Jones-Drew under contract for one more year. Enter Randle who will get a reunion with Oklahoma State teammate Justin Blackmon. There is a really good chance Randle might not be available as he has the prototypical size standing around 6’1” and 200 pounds. Randle has been extremely effective even though he was in a pass first offense at Oklahoma State. He racked up 1351 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Cowboys even with the departure of Weeden and Blackmon. Randle is a tough back who fights hard for extra yardage but also has the vision and speed to breakaway. Having Randle back-up MJD for a year and learn from him (similar to what Freddy T did to MJD) would be a smart move. If Randle excels at the combine he could be long gone (early second) by the time the Jaguars draft here but as of now he looks like a late 2nd/early 3rd pick and the Jaguars would benefit from adding him.
Round 4 (#97) Devin Taylor (DE – South Carolina)
The Jaguars need a lot of help on the DL and improving the pass rush so adding multiple defensive linemen is a must. Enter Devin Taylor who will be a project for the current or new defensive coaching staff. Taylor is a physical beast standing 6-7, great arm length and a high motor but has had a very disappointing senior season for the Gamecocks. He had a lot of high expectations after a breakout sophomore year but has been declining in production ever since. He hasn’t shown a lot of burst off the line, very stiff and seems to be lacking bulk and strength to push through blockers. That being said he has all the physical traits that scouts look for in top DEs. Entering Day Three of the draft I could see the Jaguars taking a risk on him and hoping that some professional coaching/training will help Taylor realize his potential.
Round 5 (#130) Trey Millard (FB – Oklahoma)
The Greg Jones era in Jacksonville is possibly three games away from being over. The stud FB is going to be 32 this offseason, a FA and has spent a lot of this season injured. Though I would be a fan of resigning him to a cheap deal, I think it’s time for the Jaguars to start looking for a new fullback. With a lot of bigger holes the Jaguars will probably not go after a FB this high but I like Millard and think he would be a great replacement for Jones. Millard has great size standing 6-2 and weighing 248 lbs. He is an excellent lead blocker, short yardage RB and also is a solid pass catcher. Arguably the best FB (in he comes out) in this draft, Millard would give MJD/Randle another top notch lead blocker but also give the Jaguars another playmaker in the backfield.
Round 6 (#161) Josh Johnson (CB – Purdue)
The Jaguars obviously need help at CB going into the 2013 offseason with Cox, Mathis, and Middleton all free agents. I strongly believe that the Jaguars will resign Cox and nab another strong CB in FA (also having Ross and Harris for depth) which is why I don’t have the Jaguars taking a CB early. I do think they will add some depth late in the draft which is where Josh Johnson comes in. Johnson is a fast, aggressive corner who has been solid for Purdue the last few years. Johnson needs to work on technique and is slightly undersized but overall offers solid potential. He is also a multiple time member of the Big Ten All-Academic team. After a strong senior season where he recorded 58 tackles, 1 sack, 3 FF and 3 INTs, Johnson would be a steal this late in the draft which is where he is currently projected.
Round 7 (#194) Roy Roundtree (WR – Michigan)
Entering his fifth year with the Wolverines, Roundtree was considered a top candidate to breakout and become a star for Michigan. Roundtree however suffered a knee injury in August which required surgery and caused him to have a slow start to his senior year and took him off the radar. He did however have a solid finish to his senior year, flashing that playmaking ability that caused many to think he would break out. The slow start, knee surgery, his extremely lean build, and fact that he will be already 24 years old prior to the draft has hurt his stock but nevertheless he offers a lot of potential as a WR. If he can add some bulk I think he could be a solid WR in the NFL. He has all the intangibles as he is tough, competitive WR who is classified as selfless by many as he has no problems blocking or putting the team first. Even with Shorts, Blackmon, and Elliot already forming a decent young core adding a potentially solid WR in Roundtree would be a good move for the Jaguars.
So there you go. There is my quick stab at a mock draft. Please feel free to tell me I am crazy and I have no idea what I am talking about...cause I probably don't. Fire away.